Gouvernement du Québec

Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec

Glossary

Animal assemblage
Concentration of animal species using the same site for a phase of their life cycle (feeding, reproduction, migration, hibernating, etc.), e.g. bird colonies, bat or reptile hibernacula, concentrations of migrating shorebirds, multispecific spawning grounds, multispecific mussel habitats.

Biodiversity
Variety and abundance of living organisms of all origins. This includes intra-species genetic diversity, inter-species diversity and diversity of ecosystems, whether land, aquatic or marine.

Conservation
Protection and maintenance, through a series of genetic diversity measures of differing intensity, of species, ecosystems and the evolutionary phenomena affecting them.

Conservation data center (CDC)
Organization affiliated with NatureServe and mandated to compile, process, analyze and supply information on the distribution, abundance and conservation requirements of threatened or vulnerable species, natural communities and special animal assemblages.

Ecosystem
Dynamic set of plants, animals, micro-organisms, with their non-living environment, that forms a functional unit.

(Element) Occurrence
Term used in the NatureServe CDC network to designate an area (point or map polygon) in which an element of biodiversity is, or was, present. An occurrence has a conservation value (rank) for this element. For species, the occurrence generally corresponds to the habitat occupied by a local population of the species in question. What constitutes an occurrence and the criteria used to assign the related element occurrence rank varies depending on the element of biodiversity under consideration. The occurrence may correspond to a single map polygon (line or observation point) or to a group of nearby polygons.

Element (of biodiversity)
The term element refers to a unit of biodiversity, i.e. species, natural community or special animal assemblage.

Element occurrence rank
The element occurrence rank assesses the estimated viability and probability of persistence of the occurrences of a given element. Eight basic EO ranks are used in prioritizing EOs for conservation planning purposes: A: excellent; B: good; C: fair; D: poor; E: verified extant (viability not assessed); F: failed to find; H: historical; X: extirpated. The basic "A" through "D" ranks are based on currently known biological and habitat-related factors that are used to estimate viability of an EO. The more viable an EO is, the higher its EO rank and the higher its conservation value. If an EO is not native or not natural in origin, its origin status can be indicated through the use of an origin status subrank: i: introduced; r: reintroduced/restored.

Geomatics
Discipline that digitally manages geographic data and uses the sciences and technologies linked to their acquisition, storage, processing and dissemination.

Natural community
Assemblage of plants and animals that interact in space and time in a given ecological context. The natural communities approach partially compensates for the lack of sufficient species-related data. On land, it is primarily plant associations that are used as the fine-scale level for identifying natural communities. Occurrences of rare communities and occurrences of common communities considered exemplary or representative (high quality) are tracked.

Population
All individuals of a given species occupying a given territory presenting specific characteristics and having genetic exchanges.

G-rank (global)
Rank assigned to an element based on its rangewide conservation status rank (G1 to G5, in decreasing order of priority). Elements ranked G1, G2 or G3 are considered imperilled. G-rank is assigned by NatureServe or the conservation data centre responsible for the element in question.

N-rank (national)
Rank assigned to an element based on its national conservation status rank (N1 to N5, in decreasing order of priority). Elements ranked N1, N2 or N3 are considered imperilled.

S-rank (subnational)
Rank assigned to element based on its provincial or state conservation status rank (S1 to S5, in decreasing order of priority. Elements ranked S1, S2 or S3 are considered imperilled.

Site
Area grouping together one or more occurrences defined on an ecological basis and used as a reference for analyses designed to identify areas requiring protection.

Species
A set of individuals sharing distinctive characteristics likely to produce common, fertile descendents. The notion of species is used in its broadest sense here and refers not only to species proper but also to subspecies, isolated geographic populations, strains and varieties, whether plant or animal.

Threatened or vulnerable species
The term groups together species designated or likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable under the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species.

Vulnerable species: any species whose survival is at risk even though it is not likely to become endangered.

Threatened species: any species likely to become endangered.